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Alumni Council

Made up of 25 alumni appointed to three-year terms and the president of the Student Alumni Association, this board meets four times a year. Members represent the interests of alumni and serve as liaisons to 25 University areas. The council assists in the recruitment of students, selects Alumni Award recipients, and was instrumental in establishing the Student Alumni Association.

Welcome Letter from New Alumni Council President Matthew Toland '05 '10

Hello WIU Community,

I am honored to have been chosen the next President of the WIU Alumni Council. My time as an undergraduate and graduate student at Western, a member of the Council for the last 10 years, and my career as a museum professional, have prepared me to lead this talented group on the Council. We are already off to a great start. The Executive Committee met in Macomb in June to set some goals and talk about plans for the next couple of years. We plan to continue our important work in service to the Alumni, the Alumni Association, and the University, but will use our new goals to help focus that work to achieve success. We also plan to work closely with President Huang and his administration to align our work with the goals of the University as it grows and changes.

We need your help! We need your support and guidance to help us, the Alumni Council, as well as Western as a whole, to reach our full potential. Please reach out to me, to President Huang, to your former department, college, school, place of work, team, residence hall, or anyone at Western and find out what you can do. As students, the reason we were able to thrive at WIU and become the people we are today is because generous and talented alums who came before us gave back after they had left. Just as I feel prepared to take on my new role as President of the Alumni Council because of my education at Western, I'm sure you feel prepared to tackle almost any challenge because of what Western gave to you. It is time to give back and provide those same opportunities to the current and future students of our beloved Alma Mater. There are so many ways to contribute including encouraging students to consider Western, visiting campus to speak to classes about your experiences, attending alumni events in your area, and of course donating to the Alumni Association, scholarships, or any area at WIU that is important to you. Give however you can.

Thank you for this opportunity to lead. Thank you to the members of the Alumni Council, the Alumni Programs Staff, the University, and the nearly 140,000 WIU Alumni for what you have done, and what you plan to do soon, to help Western grow. Please contact me directly here with any questions or concerns. And again, thank you, thank you, thank you.


Matthew Toland '05 '10

2022 Alumni Council Meetings

  • Saturday, January 22
  • Saturday, April 23
  • Saturday, July 16
  • Friday, October 21

Interested in joining the Alumni Council?

The WIU Alumni Association is looking for dedicated leaders of all ages, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, career fields, etc. to serve on the WIU Alumni Council. The Alumni Council strives to include a broad range of members that accurately reflects our student body and alumni community. Applicants are evaluated based on a number of factors, including engagement since graduating (e.g. attendance, giving back to WIU financially, referring students, returning to campus to speak to classes, offering career mentorship, etc.) and general Leatherneck Pride. If you or someone you know is an active alumnus that would be a good candidate, please fill out our online application form. The deadline is April 1.

2021 - 2022 Council Members

On July 11, 2020, at its summer meeting, the Western Illinois University Alumni Council passed a resolution focused on racial equality, anti-racism and support for Black alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends. The WIU Alumni Council is committed to standing up to systemic racism and implementing action to end racism, harassment, discrimination and hate.


Alumni Council Featured Member

Deb Miller 1984, 1986

BA (1984) and MA (1986) in English at WIU

Email Address:

Business Information:  Beginning in 1986, I served in various teaching and administrative positions at Western Illinois University. I served as Director of Special Projects and Development in the College of Fine Arts at WIU until 2004, when I resigned to take the position of Director of the Branch Campus at Carl Sandburg College. I was promoted to Dean of Extension Services at Carl Sandburg College and served in that capacity until my retirement in 2017. 

Advice for Freshmen:
Western Illinois University has many areas to explore: academic subjects, arts, clubs and organizations, sports and most importantly, people who come from different backgrounds. Embrace the opportunity to learn and experience new ideas and make sure your circle of friends is diverse and broad. Regret comes from things you do not take the time explore, and the university provides opportunities to help you find what you care about, what challenges you, and where you can succeed. 

Favorite WIU Memory:  I was the first person in my family to graduate from college. Given I served in the U.S. Army from 1978-81, I felt I was making up for lost time as I was a 21 year old freshman and my goal was to get my BA in three years. On graduation day in May of 1984, after the ceremony, my father came to find me and give me a hug. The chair of the English Department at the time, Beth Stiffler, who was also committed to be my thesis advisor, came over to us and said some kind words about me to my Dad.  She did not have to take the time to find me and do that, given after the ceremony, it was pretty chaotic.  But she did. I think it shows how important faculty are to students' success and how she helped me achieve my goal to graduate in 1984.   Beth was always in my corner, even after I graduated with my master's.  I will always appreciate her kindness and support.

Family Information/Special Interests and Hobbies:  My husband, Jerry "JO" Oitker (2007 BOT) and I will be married 25 years next year.  Given I am retired, we have more time to travel, see friends and family, go to games, musicals, museums, and music festivals. We also play golf and do some target shooting.  Having more time for friends, family and fun is a real blessing.

Click here for farewell letter from the Alumni Council Past President Brian Savage '73